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BRITISH FRIENDS OF VANUATU

VANUATU EDUCATION CASE STUDY

(JANUARY 1999)

PREFACE

  This report, commissioned by the British Friends of Vanuatu, is based on research carried out by Mr. Tony Williams of Williams Educational Services, Chairman of the Bristol branch of the English Speaking Union and a committee member of the British Friends of Vanuatu, who visited Vanuatu between 6 July and 24 August 1998. The British Friends of Vanuatu acknowledge with gratitude the help and support warmly afforded him by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Hon. Donald Kalpokas, by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Joe Natuman, and by Ministry of Education officials, teachers, members of diplomatic missions, and many others. The visit coincided with, and overlapped, that of the World Bank mission, led by Mr. David Klaus, which had been invited to advise the Vanuatu Government on the preparation of an Education Master Plan. The preparation and publication of this report has been made possible through the receipt of a generous grant from the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, for which we are deeply grateful. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the European Centre for Studies, Information and Education on Pacific Issues (ECSIEP).

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS  

 

Executive Summary

Project Objectives

Historical Background

Basic Problems

Elimination of Poverty

Role of International Aid

Recommendations  

Annex

Historical & Current Background of Vanuatu

Education before Independence

Developments in Education since Independence

Current Developments  

Appendices

A  Comprehensive Reform programme

B  The Education Master Plan

C  Rationalisation of Schools

D  Vanuatu Rural Development Training Centre Association

E  Education Statistics

F  Acknowledgements  

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Basic Problems. 

Much progress has been made in the development of a common system of education in Vanuatu out of the two totally disparate British and French systems inherited in 1980 from the condominium of the New Hebrides, but problems remain. The overriding problem is that around two‑thirds of all children completing the six‑year primary school course have to leave school at about age 12, because there are no secondary school places available. The government and people of Vanuatu believe that their country cannot move forward unless the numbers of children receiving an adequate secondary education is greatly increased. Subsidiary problems include critical shortages of secondary school teachers, lack of resources and funding for individual schools, inadequate support for teachers in the field, some duplication of primary school provision arising from the pre‑independence policies of the British and French administrations, and inadequate arrangements for vocational training for those who drop out of the educational system after completing primary school. (Pages 6‑7)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

The Elimination of Poverty.

The problems spring from a lack of funds to finance an adequate dual language system in a small and poor country. The fact that the bulk of Vanuatu's young people are deprived of educational opportunity is as much evidence of poverty as say malnutrition and is a recipe for continuing poverty. The Government of Vanuatu has selected a target of ten years of education for all children by 2010, but the World Bank in a depressing recognition of Vanuatu's poverty has recommended instead an alternative target of eight years of primary education. The power of secondary education to change things in Vanuatu is illustrated by the remarkable contribution to the development of Vanuatu of those who attended the country's first secondary school, established in 1966. (Page 8)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

The Role of International Aid.

Vanuatu was not a viable state when it became independent in 1980. During the first decade of independence British manpower aid and other assistance was of critical importance in establishing Vanuatu as a well administered small country, making progress in developing its modest resources. In the early 1990s the taps were turned off, British staff were withdrawn or not replaced, scholarship and training programmes were abandoned, and the British aid programme was run down to its present minimal size. Fortunately France, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union have maintained through the 1990s valuable and effective education sector aid programmes. As to the future Vanuatu will need continuing education sector aid on a major scale over the next decade. The needs are so widespread and varied that they deserve the attention both of major donors and of NGOs and small-scale donors. (Pages 9‑10)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Recommendations.

The report recommends a substantial increase in British education sector aid and a continuation of European Union education sector aid at least at its present scale during the next decade. The 14 recommendations include many suggestions for smaller scale assistance of a type appropriate for adoption by British and European NGOs. The final recommendation reinforces a World Bank suggestion for the establishment in Port Vila of an education sector Donor Coordinating Committee. (Pages 11‑13)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Annex

This contains an account of the development of education in the New Hebrides up to 1980, a summary of what has been achieved since independence, and a note on four important current developments the Comprehensive Reform Programme, the Education Master Plan on which the World Bank have advised Vanuatu, a current European Union Education Sector Project and a current Australian teacher education project. (Pages 14‑20)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Project Objectives

  The overriding objectives of the project are to produce a report, which will:

  Demonstrate to European aid donors, including both the British Government and (in the context of the Post-Lomé Negotiations) the European Union, that current education provision in Vanuatu falls short of the country's needs, especially at secondary level and that the deficiencies can only be remedied by continued external assistance for a substantial period. The most telling evidence of this is that two‑thirds of Vanuatu children completing primary school cannot go on to any form of secondary education because of the lack of secondary school places.

 

Given the international emphasis that aid should be directed primarily to the alleviation of poverty the report should make the point that Vanuatu children are deprived of educational opportunities that should be available to them because of the current inability of the Vanuatu Government to fund from its own resources an adequate school system, that this deprivation is as much evidence of poverty as low income or bad housing, and that Vanuatu cannot hope to emerge from poverty and aid dependence unless there is adequate educational provision.

 

Illustrate the types of educational assistance which are likely to be needed over a period covered by the Vanuatu Educational Master Plan, not only projects of a type which can only be funded by major aid donors but more particularly important minor projects such as can be funded by Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and other small scale donors TABLE OF CONTENTS

   

The Historical Background.

The story of Vanuatu education is complicated, as is everything else in that country, by the record of the Anglo‑French Condominium of the New Hebrides, which was ended but not resolved by Independence in July 1980. The history of that difficult legacy is briefly set out in the Annex to this paper.  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

THE BASIC PROBLEMS

While enormous progress has been made in the eighteen years of independence in the development of a common system of education out of two very different ones, much remains to be done.

The overriding problem is that in recent years around two‑thirds of all children completing the six‑year primary school course are forced to leave school at about age 12, inadequately equipped to earn a living in either the rural or the urban economy, because there are no secondary school places available for them. In 1998 the percentage of French‑educated children entering secondary school, 59%, was significantly higher, but for the more numerous English‑educated children the percentage remained at 34%. It is not clear whether the discrepancy is the result of a fall in the proportion of children attending French‑medium primary schools or whether it results from a disproportionate increase in the number of places available at French‑medium secondary schools. A considerable number of new secondary schools are being established (in some cases through the addition of secondary departments to existing primary schools), but many of the new places created are needed to cope with a rapidly rising population rather than to provide an expansion of opportunity. The government and people of Vanuatu believe that the country cannot hope to move forward and escape from poverty, providing a better standard of living for its people, unless the numbers of young ni‑Vanuatu receiving an adequate secondary education is greatly increased ‑hence the goal of the Comprehensive Reform Programme.

Subsidiary to this are a very wide range of difficulties and deficiencies. They include:

Critical shortages of secondary school teachers (in particular those competent to teach the most senior forms). In part this results from the fact that during the first decade or more of independence the limited numbers of suitably educated university graduates were able to move into more attractive and better paid jobs in the senior ranks of the public service and in the private sector. Teaching tended to be a last resort. Only now, with the contraction in the size of the public service as a result of the CRP, may the situation be changing. A great improvement in teacher training facilities for the increasing numbers of secondary schoolteachers needed seems to be a high priority, particularly for anglophone teachers who currently are only trained in Fiji where the courses may not specifically address Vanuatu conditions and curricula (this problem is being addressed in a new Australian project, VASTEP, due to start during 1999). Francophone teachers are being trained in Vila, thanks to a continuing French aid project. Should the World Bank proposals be adopted, a different teacher-training problem will presumably arise from the need to retrain large numbers of primary school teachers to teach the first two years of what was previously the Junior Secondary School curriculum.

Lack of resources and funding for individual schools. There has been seriously inadequate funding for school maintenance; the World Bank found many school buildings in poor condition; substantial EU funds have been and continue to be applied to the refurbishment of rural primary schools (there has also been French aid in this field). There are also problems over the supply of basic items of school use for both primary and secondary schools. This is particularly noticeable in small primary schools. There is very restricted funding even for the basics of exercise books, pencils, chalk and so on, while items such as coloured pencils or crayons, scissors, paints and so on have become very rare.

Lack of support for primary teachers in the field. The allocation of three primary advisors per province is not nearly enough. They cannot hope to visit all probationary and temporary teachers and give the support they need, let alone perform their other functions.

Lack of a pool of good primary teachers who have had further education beyond that of their two years initial training, who are available to take up positions in teacher education, curriculum work and the advisory service. There is little or no opportunity or support for primary teachers to undertake further study. This leads to an inbred system, with few interesting developments.

Inadequate support from subject specialists for secondary teachers in the field. The World Bank recommends that there should be ten pedagogical advisers (rather than the current one) providing secondary teacher support and supervision.

The World Bank have recommended that a detailed school mapping exercise be undertaken to establish precisely the needs for and desirable locations of schools at all levels and that there should be an amalgamation of primary schools in some cases. This is now being undertaken by the European Union and reflects the Bank mission's finding that some existing primary schools lack facilities while at others there is a waste of resources due to excess numbers of classrooms, small class sizes and the unplanned development of schools. To some extent the problems must spring from the way in which the primary school network developed with rival English and French medium schools being established in single villages. Disappointingly the World Bank aide-memoire contains no reference to or assessment of the success of the small number of dual language schools established in recent years, though on the face of it such schools ought to be an effective way of rationalizing the development of schools and of using limited resources to the best advantage. For reasons which are unclear none of the new secondary schools to be developed under the current EU project are planned to be dual language. An account of personal experiences during brief visits to three islands illustrates the extent of the problem (see Appendix C).

The question of how to provide some kind of vocational training for those who drop out of the education system after completing primary school has bean a continuing problem since the earliest years of independence. It will remain a problem even if the average age of school leaver is raised from 12 to 14. Efforts have been made to develop a coordinated network of Rural Training Centres in the islands since the early 1980s. In the early years at least these came and went, tending to be church sponsored, dependent for their viability and success on the dedication of an overseas volunteer. In 1993 the Vanuatu Rural Development Training Centre Association was established with support from the UK Foundation for the South Pacific (UKFSP) as an umbrella organisation to encourage and support the development of community-based Rural Training Centres and is currently receiving major support from DFID under a three-year programme (1996/99: £483,000). The World Bank recommends the further strengthening of the VRDTCA as the most effective way forward. There are currently 22 Training Centres operating under VRDTCA, with enrolments in 1977 and 1978 of 675 and 376 trainees respectively (in 1997/98 2842 children dropped out of the education system after Year 6). The figures suggest that much still remains to be done. For a fuller account of VRDTCA see Appendix D. TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY

The serious inadequacies of Vanuatu's education system spring from a lack of funds to finance a dual language system, which has been forced on it by its condominium inheritance, in a country where the population live in small and often isolated communities in mountainous islands scattered over a large area of the Pacific Ocean. To maintain and develop parallel English and French medium schools in such geographical circumstances is inevitably a very expensive business. The problems are aggravated by high population growth. The consequence is a situation where the great bulk of Vanuatu's young people are deprived of educational opportunity and are currently obliged to leave school after six years of not very high quality primary education in schools lacking many normal facilities. This is as much evidence of poverty as malnutrition or indifferent housing or low cash income and is a recipe for continuing poverty. The way out of this poverty is surely a major and immediate effort to provide proper educational opportunity for all within a system which ensures that sufficient numbers receive a standard of quality secondary and tertiary education which is adequate to equip the country's future civil service managers, its business executives and its professionals (including its teachers) to meet their responsibilities.

In recognising the cardinal importance of creating a better educated population the Vanuatu Government selected a target of ten years of education for all children by 2010. It is a depressing recognition of the poverty of the country that the World Bank mission has regarded this target as financially not affordable and has recommended in its place not a moving of the target year on to say 2020 but an alternative target of eight years of primary education.

It is relevant that the power of education to change things in Vanuatu is dramatically illustrated by the consequences of establishing the British Secondary School (now Malapoa College) in the mid 1960s. Although those who attended the school were to begin with small in numbers (182 had entered the school by 1971, a figure which had risen to nearly 400 by 1975), they received from dedicated British staff a quality education and as a result the distinguished contribution which they and their successors have made and continue to make to the development of Vanuatu in a wide variety of fields has been most impressive.

It is necessary to make these points in view of the emphasis that the international community places on the elimination of poverty as the prime purpose of development aid. This is particularly emphasised in the British Government's White Paper 'Eliminating World Poverty: A Challenge for the 21st Century'. While the broad international objective is to achieve universal primary education by 2015, the priorities for Vanuatu in the drive to eliminate poverty relate to post primary education. It is encouraging that the White Paper promises a new approach to education sector aid which will focus on the fundamentals of an effective education system including enabling children to benefit from the full cycle of education and the removal of all barriers to opportunity and achievement.  TABLE OF CONTENTS

   

THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL AID

Vanuatu was not a viable state when it became independent in 1980. It was dependent on substantial budgetary aid from Britain and France, it could not fund from its own resources even the smallest development project, and it had inherited no established structure of government and no indigenous civil service. There were hardly any local graduates and professionals, and in many fields trained technicians were thin on the ground. Because of its dual heritage Vanuatu faced problems that were unique among ex-British colonial territories. During the first decade of independence British manpower aid and other forms of assistance were of major importance in establishing Vanuatu as a well-administered small country, enabling it to dispense with budgetary aid, to train local staff to take over from expatriates in government service, and to make some progress in developing its very modest resources. In the education sector continuing support of Malapoa College, the provision of scholarships to fund university education in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, and an extensive programme of technical training in the UK were all-important and valuable. Sadly in the early 1990s the taps were turned off (as elsewhere in the Pacific), British staff were withdrawn or not replaced, scholarship training programmes were abandoned, and the Pacific aid programme that had been at a level of around £14m in 1991/92 was run down over a few years to its present minimal size. Currently British educational aid is only supporting projects in the informal sector, notably the VRDTCA and the influential and effective community theatre group Wan Smol Bag (there has also been part funding of research into the reported differences in the learning achievements of English-medium and French-medium pupils). Happily the current British High Commissioner has been most active in making admirable and well publicised use of such small funds as are available to him, and VSO volunteers play a valued role, but this hardly compensates for the cut off in aid that has occurred.

 

It has been fortunate for Vanuatu that during the 1990s France, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union have all maintained valuable and effective education sector aid programmes. French aid continues, as in the past, to be very largely devoted to the support and development of the French-medium education system, with significant numbers of French nationals (including national service co-operants) teaching in schools, a teacher training programme producing an annual supply of French-medium secondary school teachers, an important programme of scholarships to the new French university in New Caledonia, and a recent project for the rehabilitation of French-medium primary schools. Opportunities for anglophone students to obtain tertiary education, whether at the University of the South Pacific or in Australia or New Zealand, depend almost entirely on the scholarship programmes operated by Australia and New Zealand (New Zealand programmes also include valuable funding for pre-tertiary education). Australia has funded important school development projects, including the construction of a large new dual language primary school in Vila, work at other Vila primary schools, the development of INTV (the French established francophone technical college in Vila) into a bilingual national technical institute), and currently the major expansion of Onesua and Montmartre secondary schools to allow Year 11 and Year 12 studies. Other current Australian projects are aimed at secondary school teacher training and the much needed strengthening of the Vanuatu Government's Scholarship Unit. The very important EU projects for the rehabilitation of rural primary schools and for the development of new Junior Secondary Schools have been referred to earlier.

 

Looking to the future it is apparent that Vanuatu will need continuing education sector support on a major scale from donor countries and agencies over the next decade. The precise forms, which this support should take, will depend on the ultimate content of the Education Master Plan, something which is not known at the time of writing. Whether the Vanuatu Government chooses to develop the education system on the lines advocated by the World Bank mission, or opts to go forward through an expansion of the Junior Secondary School network, much assistance will be needed. It is clear that teacher training is a priority area of need, both the initial training of teachers for secondary schools, the retraining of primary school teachers to teach at a more senior level, and in-service training schemes to assist in career development and to provide the special skills needed by head teachers, whether at primary or secondary level. There are likely to be many ways in which expatriate teachers or teacher-assistants can help, both volunteers and career teachers, with mature volunteers being able to make an especially valuable contribution. The needs are so wide-spread and varied that they deserve the attention both of the major donors and agencies and of NGOs and small-scale donors.  TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1.         Now that increased resources are available to the Department for International Development, we recommend that the British Government assist the Vanuatu Government in the development of its educational system through a substantial increase in the current level of aid. We believe that such increased assistance would be entirely compatible with the objectives of the DFID in eliminating poverty and in adopting a new approach to education sector aid, which inter alia will enable pupils to benefit from the full cycle of education.

 

2.         We recommend that the European Union should in the course of the Post-Lome Negotiations recognise Vanuatu's continuing need for substantial education sector aid during the first decade of the 21st century and should make provision, under whatever arrangements succeed the Lome Conventions, for continuing education sector assistance at at least present levels, building on what has already been achieved and is currently in progress

 

3.         While it would be premature to determine the precise forms of new aid projects until the content of the Education Master Plan has been finalised, we recommend that major international aid donors should in any event accord priority to:

 

a)      projects which will increase the availability of post-primary education in order to meet so far as is possible the aspirations of the Comprehensive Reform Programme;

 

b)      projects which will increase the supply and quality of teachers, particularly at secondary level,

both through initial training and through innovative forms of in-service training.

 

4.)        Many more teacher trainers are going to be required, particularly if the World Bank team's recommendations are accepted. We recommend that British and European aid agencies should help to meet this need in the English medium system by drawing on the resources and expertise of the Centre for British Teachers (CFBT) and of the English Speaking Union's International Training Scheme and in particular by making available recently retired College of Education lecturers willing to go out to Vanuatu on two year contract volunteer terms.

 

5.         Many more teachers are going to be required, particularly for the expanded post-primary system. While the need for expatriate teachers may be greatest in the short term, there is likely to be a continuing long term need to fill shortages that may arise, for example for teachers to cover absences of existing teachers on in-service training, whether in Vanuatu or overseas, odor specialist teachers in the most senior forms. We recommend that British and European aid agencies should help to meet these needs in the English medium system by making available mature or recently retired teachers on volunteer or local salary terms and also by making available young University/Training College graduates on one year Gap Year terms.

 

6.         We recommend that Voluntary Service Overseas should increase the small number of education sector volunteers it provides for Vanuatu, with an emphasis on meeting secondary school needs.

 

7.       We recommend that Gap Activity Projects Ltd should take over and expand the scheme successfully pioneered by the Bristol branch of the English Speaking Union, under which pre‑university gap year students are sent to help in Vanuatu schools as teachers, helpers, library assistants, extra‑curricula organisers, sports coaches, and assistants to boy and girl housemasters. Since the pre‑university gap scheme leaves schools short of a teacher for the third term of the school year, we recommend that the expanded scheme should recruit recent graduates interested in taking a gap year and willing to serve in Vanuatu for a full school year.

 

8.         We recommend continuation of the joint Bristol ESU/British Friends of Vanuatu scheme under which a ni‑Vanuatu school principal or head of a training institution be invited to Britain for 4‑6 weeks to see time for reflection.

 

9.         We recommend how a similar UK institution operates, to take back best‑practice ideas for their institution, and to provide a extension to other secondary schools of the scheme under which the British Friends of Vanuatu, with support from the Bank Line and the British High Commission in Port Vila, have organised book presentations to the libraries of Vureas High School and Onesua High School. Consideration should be given to inclusion of CD‑ROMs in presentations to schools that are equipped with suitable computers.

 

10.     We recommend continuation of the existing scheme under which the British Friends of Vanuatu and the Cassandra Trust have funded scholarships for needy students in the senior forms of Malapoa College and (in the case of the Cassandra Trust) other institutions.

 

11.     We recommend that British and European aid agencies should fund the provision at selected secondary schools of computers with CD‑Rom and modem, so that staff and pupils can have greater research access and to facilitate the introduction of the technology education programme which has been recommended by the World Bank mission.

 

12.     We recommend that British and European aid agencies should continue to give support to the Vanuatu Rural Development Training Centre Association and to Rural Training Centres so that the latter become a viable option for pupils not selected for secondary education. Funds are required for an administrative centre, for the training of instructors, and for the salaries of training centre managers so that the money earned through student projects at particular centres can be ploughed back to provide for expansion and purchase of more equipment.

 

13.     In so far as Aid Agencies are able to participate in the debate on the recommendations of the World Bank mission, we recommend that:

 

a)      serious concern be expressed at the proposal that children in Preskul, Year 1 and Year 2 classes should be taught in local village vernaculars by low‑paid Year 10 dropouts, who have received only short term training in pedagogy and who have not qualified for standard teacher training. Whether or not it proves difficult to recruit such people for the very many vernaculars spoken in Vanuatu, it is widely held that the earliest years of schooling are the most important in any child's future development and that teaching at this level by properly trained and experienced teachers is of the greatest importance.

 

b)      the Ministry of Education be strengthened and made more effective and more in touch with the needs of teachers and principals, (staffed at senior levels with a proportion of experienced teachers). We endorse the recommendations of the World Bank mission that a new structure for the Ministry is implemented as soon as possible, and that the salary structure for teachers is improved.

 

c)      Provincial Education Officers be given more staff to act as advisors and inspectors as well as being coordinators of the Provincial Teachers' Centres, where teachers can get help, support and materials and have one-day courses to discuss common problems.

 

14.       We recommend that British and European donor agencies represented in Port Vila should pursue the suggestion put forward by the World Bank mission that a Donor Coordinating Committee be established under the chairmanship of the Minister of Education, should meet regularly, and should inform donors of progress in the Education Master Plan preparation. We further recommend that donor agencies not represented in Port Vila and willing to contribute to education sector development should arrange to be represented by an appropriate local diplomatic mission and should receive copies of the minutes of meetings of the Donor Coordinating Committee.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ANNEX

 

The History And Current Background Of Vanuatu

 

Vanuatu, previously known as the New Hebrides, is a Pacific island state, an archipelago of some 60 inhabited islands, a dozen of which are of significant size, spread in a Y-shape over a large area of the Pacific Ocean. The islands lie to the north east of Sydney and to the west of Fiji. There are two towns, Vila, the capital, on the island of Efate, and Luganville on the island of Santo. Otherwise the indigenous Melanesian population of about 170,000 live in small scattered villages in terrain which is generally mountainous and densely forested. Population growth is high. There are some 100 local languages or dialects, with bislama (the local variety of pidgin) serving as an almost universal lingua franca. The climate is tropical to sub tropical, with all islands vulnerable to damage from destructive cyclones during three to four months of the year. The islands are well served by an internal air service but road links within islands are of poor quality (where they exist) and inter-island shipping services are often unsatisfactory. This means that provision of government services to the islands is inevitably an expensive business.

During the second half of the 19th century missionaries ( Presbyterians, Anglican and French Roman Catholics) and settlers, British/Australian and French, began to arrive in the New Hebrides in increasing numbers. With no form of administration in the islands tensions developed, with the forceful Presbyterian Church calling for the declaration of the New Hebrides as a British colony and with the French settlers, backed by the French community in neighbouring New Caledonia, demanding instead the establishment of a French colony. The upshot was the establishment in 1906 of the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides, under which a British administration governed the British/Australian community and a French administration the French community, with certain common services eventually being provided on a condominium basis. The indigenous population were in effect stateless, qualifying for neither British nor French nationality. This profoundly unsatisfactory system of government lasted until Vanuatu became independent in 1980. The continuing legacy has been a dual English-medium and French-medium education system and political parties which have adopted either a protestant anglophone or a catholic francophone identity (though this is now beginning to weaken). TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Education Before Independence

 For very many years education in the New Hebrides was exclusively the province of the Christian missions. The purpose of the early schools, which developed around the various mission stations - anglophone (or initially using a vernacular) in the case of the Protestant missions, and francophone in the case of the Roman Catholics- was to teach literacy so as to provide a greater understanding of the Christian faith plus some basic mathematics. In due course the Presbyterian and Anglican missions established centres to provide training for teachers and catechists and a network of rudimentary English-medium village primary schools began to develop. This remained the picture until the 1960s, when for the first time both the British and French administrations began to take an increasing interest in the education of the population. On the British side the first Education Officer was appointed in 1959, a Teacher Training College was established in 1962, and a small British Secondary School, now Malapoa College, was opened in 1966. On the French side a Lycée was opened in Vila in 1967 and a major drive was launched to develop a network of French-medium primary schools throughout the country (at the beginning of the decade there had been only a handful of such schools) in a politically inspired effort to alter the language balance of the New Hebrides. Schools were often built in villages which already had an English-medium school.

 At the time of independence primary education was available to virtually all communities, with (1981 figures) 11,303 children attending English-medium primary schools and 12,438 French-medium primary schools. In the English-medium sector 864 children were following a three year course at one of the six junior secondary schools, four of which were church affiliated, and 132 were attending senior secondary classes at Malapoa College. Scholarships were available to enable the most able students to attend University courses in Fiji (at the University of the South Pacific) or in Papua New Guinea, and a handful of University graduates had by then already returned to Vanuatu. On the French side 1021 children were attending secondary classes at the Lycée or one of the three other French-medium secondary schools, but very few were successful in attaining their baccalaureat and for these no French-medium university education was available other than in France. Secondary school teachers in both the English and French schools were almost all expatriates.                     TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Educational Development Since Independence

 

 A Unified Education System.

 The first task confronting the new Vanuatu Government was to establish a Ministry of Education and a single education system appropriate for Vanuatu. This meant the marrying of two very different systems of administration, the creation of a common salary scale and terms of service for teachers who were now to be employed by the government, and the introduction of a common framework of education. The task was a formidable one. The government accepted that education in both English and French medium would continue, but on the basis that children should learn the same things, albeit in different languages. A standard six year primary course was decided on, with the two year 'classes pratiques' in the French schools being phased out in favour of the development of rural training centres offering courses which would enable young people to be usefully employed in their villages. A universal Year 6 leaving examination was adopted to govern entrance to junior secondary schools, which from 1986 have provided a common four year course leading to a Year 10 examination, governing in its turn entrance to the senior cycle of secondary education.

 

A Common Curriculum.

 A great deal of effort has been put into the development of a locally relevant common curriculum for use in all schools. The work has been centred on the Curriculum Development Unit, which has occupied a purpose-built building since 1986. A common curriculum for the senior secondary schools was introduced in 1986 but the development of a common primary curriculum took longer and it was not until 1991 that a unified curriculum document was agreed. The present phase of curriculum development reached a successful culmination in 1998 with the production of 180 new or revised text books and related materials for primary and junior secondary schools, in adequate quantities for distribution to all schools and in both languages of education (except in the case of language teaching materials). This is a major achievement. At senior secondary level the possibilities for a common curriculum are more limited, but all English-medium schools with Year 11 and 12 courses prepare students for the Pacific senior School Certificate and the College de Santo (French-medium) hopes to do so in 2000.

  

Teacher Training.

 The Ecole Normal was closed in 1981 and the training of teachers has since been centralised at the Teachers' College. In 1983 a new common two-year programme for both anglophone and francophone primary school teachers was introduced. By 1995 all students applying for entry to the college were expected to have completed their education to Year 12. In the early 1980s secondary schools were largely staffed by expatriates and there was an immense shortage of local teachers (in 1983 there were, for instance, only 10 ni-Vanuatu teachers working in the English-medium sector). Secondary teacher training for French-speaking students was introduced in 1988 and has taken place since 1994 at the Teachers' College, fully funded by France and largely staffed by French expatriates. Between 1991 and 1993 a two-year training programme for English-medium junior secondary teachers at the Teachers' College was funded under Australian Aid, but has subsequently been abandoned for lack of ni-Vanuatu tutors.

  

Availability Of Education.

 Education is now free at primary level, but fees have to be paid at secondary level and at many primary schools a donation is required. There are sufficient places in primary schools for every

 

Gender Balance.

 All schools are co-educational and there are equal opportunities throughout the education system for boys and girls. In the 1998 Year 6 examinations 1,176 boys and 1,143 girls were selected for secondary education. At Year 10 181 boys and 159 girls went forward to English-medium senior secondary classes and 60 girls and 52 boys went forward to the senior classes at the Lycée.  These figures do not seem to justify criticism that girls are performing significantly less well than boys throughout the system.                    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    

 

CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS

 The Comprehensive Reform Programme (CRP).

 In February 1997 the Vanuatu Government signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), under which the ADB was to support the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive programme of economic, political and social reform. Serge Vohor, the then Prime Minister, explained that the population of Vanuatu was growing at a faster rate than the economy, that major reform was essential if the economy was to meet the country's needs, and that political intervention in the public service and in areas properly the domain of the private sector had to be reduced. The outline programme envisaged the restructuring of the economy to provide for private sector led growth, the right-sizing of the government and public service, reform of the taxation system, and a human resources development policy. The Prime Minister's announcement was widely welcomed, with opposition being expressed only by one leading NGO, which had supposed with scant justification that a standard IBRD Structural Adjustment Package was being forced on Vanuatu. Following a period during which the ideas behind the reform programme were widely publicised and debated, a detailed programme and action plan was drawn up. This took full account of the widespread disenchantment with continuing economic stagnation, poor social services, unstable governments, inefficient public administration and abuse of power. The CRP was presented to a National Summit , consisting of Ministers, MPs, senior public servants and the representatives of all significant elements in Vanuatu society, and was unanimously adopted on 27 June 1997. The implementation of the CRP has subsequently been the priority objective of the Vanuatu Government.

 The CRP is replete with references to the need for a radical improvement in education and training; this is described as a key policy in the reform strategy. The most important provision of the CRP, so far as education is concerned, is 'the adoption of a national goal of ten years ' schooling for all children by 2010 and the drawing up of an Education Master Plan to ensure that this is achieved. For a full account of the education content of the CRP see Appendix A. 

 

The Education Master Plan.

 A World Bank Mission visited Vanuatu from 6 to 31 July 1998 to assist the Vanuatu Government in drawing up the Education Master Plan. It investigated all aspects of Vanuatu's education system and made recommendations as to how it might be developed over the next 10 to 15 years. An aide memoire set out the mission's findings and recommendations and was to be followed by a comprehensive document, the first draft of which was submitted in September. The aide memoire states that the Vanuatu Government then intends to undertake a 'concerted effort at discussion, dissemination, popularization and consensus-building before determining which elements of the document it intends to endorse officially as its Education Master Plan . The World Banks recommendations, 47 in number, appear to have government support and the Ministry of Education say that they are in the process of implementing them, but the widespread consultation process recommended by the Bank has not yet taken place and, at the time of writing, it is not clear that formal government approval has been given.

 The World Bank Mission has recommended a radical restructuring of the entire education system and the substitution of a goal of eight years education instead of the CRP target of ten years of education for all children by 2010. They proposes that all children should be offered two years of primary education. preceded by a preschool year, at Community Schools where the language of instruction will be the village vernacular. This will be followed by six years at English or French medium Primary Schools, leading to a leaving examination at Year 8 rather than Year 6. Those who pass the Year 8 examination will go on to four years of secondary education at Provincial High Schools, with pre-university courses being offered only at Malapoa College, Matevulu College, and the Lycée. The prospect that primary school drop outs will be age 14 rather than age 12 will be welcomed, but this is not what was wanted by those who were consulted during the drafting of the CRP. They wanted everyone to have four years of post-primary education. While the merits of the World Bank's proposals are cogently argued, there appear to be formidable difficulties in such a total restructuring of the system, involving major changes at every level of education and the establishment in every village of a new and untried breed of school, the Community School. Will this for instance prove to be within the administrative capacity of the Ministry of Education? Will it be feasible to translate and produce teaching materials in the 100 or so village vernaculars, many of which have never been reduced to writing? Will it be possible to find for these schools vernacular speakers who are Year 10 graduates, competent to absorb the limited pedagogic training proposed and to teach? (Some of these difficulties would be eased if the Community Schools in appropriate areas were to be bislama-speaking rather than vernacular-speaking.) Have the complexities of introducing Year 7 and Year 8 programmes into existing primary schools been properly examined? There seems to be increasing doubt as to whether the PNG pattern, on which the Bank s proposals are largely based, can be easily applied to Vanuatu s very different conditions. A full summary of the World Bank aide memoire is contained at Appendix B.

 

The European Union Education Sector Project.

 In March 1997 the Vanuatu Government and the European Commission reached an agreement under which 75% of the funds available to Vanuatu under the latest tranche of Lomé Convention aid would be used for the upgrading of at least 12 existing primary schools to become primary cum secondary schools (with the object of at least doubling the number of students graduating from Year 10 by 2002), for the rehabilitation of rural primary schools (in continuation of a successful project funded under the previous tranche of EU aid), and for in-service teacher training and the improvement of the management of education. In July 1998 the project was taken a step forward by the signature of an agreement which designated 10 English-medium and 8 French-medium schools for upgrading to become primary cum junior secondary schools. The implementation of this project means that there will be a good spread of junior secondary schools in every major island or island group and will be a welcome step forward towards the implementation of the CRP target of making education up to Year 10 available for all children. The majority of the schools to be upgraded under the programme have accepted junior secondary intakes in 1999. On its completion it appears that there will be some 50 schools (including private schools) offering junior secondary education (31 English-medium, 17 French-medium, and 2, possibly 3, dual-medium). The project does not seem to conform easily with the World Bank's concept of how the education system should be developed, and there are certain question-marks as to the availability in the short term of teachers to man the new secondary departments . A parallel project for the expansion of two existing well regarded secondary schools, Onesua High School (English-medium) and Montmartre (French-medium), is being funded by Australia.

  

Australian Secondary Teacher Education Project (VASTEP)

 In December 1998 an agreement was signed under which the Australian Government undertook to fund a programme to create more English-medium secondary school teachers in order to meet the needs of the increasing number of secondary schools. A Junior Secondary School teacher course is to be introduced at the Vanuatu Teachers College, graduating 25 new teachers a year, after the training of ni-Vanuatu teacher trainers and initially with the assistance of six Australian experts. This project should solve the problem of training English-medium secondary school teachers in the long term, but it looks as though short term difficulties will remain.            TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

APPENDICES

 A. Comprehensive Reform Programme

Vanuatu Government and references to Education

 

The Outline for the CRP was tabled 17 March, 1997 and presented on 27 June 1997.

 The Executive Summary: 

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Redefined the role for the Public Sector. " more resources can then be diverted to the delivery of social services especially education, which is the key to personal, social, political and economic development."

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Improvements to public sector efficiency. Public servants will be made more aware of their role and responsibilities and given the skills they need to fulfil them. An intensive Management Improvement programme will be implemented over three years.

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Private sector-led growth. "The principal focus of business development will be small business, ni-Vanuatu owned business in the rural sector. An obstacle in achieving this is the lack of business and technical skills. Poorly educated workers are generally less productive and less able to absorb training. Therefore a commitment to improve basic education is as significant for business development as it is for the achievement of social objectives.

 

The Need for Reform

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Poor economic performance is due, among other reasons, to inadequate investment in human capital (1.07). Slow economic growth, combined with rapid population growth and a narrow revenue base, will not allow the Government to make essential improvements in the fields of education and infrastructure on which long term growth depends (1.09).

 

The Big Picture

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Vision: The only means of empowerment is education and training (2.01). 

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Vanuatu needs a well educated population. It is well recognised that the education system with its language based diversity has failed to deliver even an acceptable level of literacy. No long-term improvement in living standards and quality of life is possible without radical improvement in education and training (2.01)

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Strategy: Reform must be comprehensive but when it asks what are the key policies, four are listed - Stable Government, Education and Training, Private Sector Dynamics and Openness to the Global Economy (2.03). A more highly educated and hence more productive population will encourage the foreign firm to invest in Vanuatu (2.04). Higher education levels and skills result in higher productivity which enables firms to compete more profitably and this will lead to a more dynamic private sector (2.04). Greatly improved education and training with more equal access throughout the country and emphasis on basic literacy and relevance to people's lives and economic opportunities is therefore part of the CRP strategy (2.10).

  

Policies for Public Sector Reform

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include "a range of training programmes for public servants based on assessed needs with the objective of increasing capacity and skills" (4.07).

 

Policies for Business

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include Education and Training (5.08). There are three distinct issues under this heading. First, for a productive labour force the general level of education must be raised. The lack of an educated, literate, numerate labour force is one of the greatest obstacles to business development. Second, many more people must have technical skills which are of economic value, ranging from farming to refrigeration to computer science. Third, if ni-Vanuatu business development is to take place there must be more training in specific business skills and management, accountancy and marketing.

 

Policies to ensure Equity

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Education brings empowerment and allows the individual to make full use of his or her God-given talents. It is the single most important tool for building an equitable society but in Vanuatu the development has been hampered by the multiplicity of languages (105 vernaculars, two official languages and one national language) and the dual language system inherited from the old Condominium imposes severe cost penalties. Under CRP the following educational reforms will occur:

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Adoption of a national goal of 10 year schooling for all children by 2010

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Collaboration between Government, NGOs, churches, women's groups to combat illiteracy and serious gender imbalance in post primary education

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Merging schools where feasible

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Encouragement of the private sector to contribute to the scholarship training programme

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To improve literacy, the introduction of compulsory schooling

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Posting of teachers on the basis of need and merit, without political consideration. This may require amendment of the Teachers' Service Act

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Consultations with the private sector and the NGOs to ensure that education (formal and non-formal) and training are relevant to people's lives and also meet the needs of the economy

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 Formulation of a comprehensive Human Resources Development Plan by the National Planning Office in conjunction with other Government agencies, private sector and NGOs; and an associated Master Reform Plan for the development of education. This EMP is to be prepared with the aim of ensuring sufficient places and trained teachers for the projected number of school children by the year 2010.

 The timetable for implementation of the new measures, some of which may require legislation, was as follows:

 

    STRATEGY

 ACTION

 RESPONSIBLE

  DEADLINE

  COMMENT

 

Improve Education Planning capability

 

 

Re-establish Planning Unit at the Ministry of Education

 

 

 

MEYA

 

 

01.10.97

 

 

Improve & extend basic education

 

Review the Teaching Service Act to ensure postings on basis of need and merit

 

 

 

MEYA

 

 

01.01.98

 

Politicisation of the teaching service has impaired it

 

 

Draw up Masterplan to provide for every child to have 10 years schooling by 2010, with regard for language needs

 

 

 

 

MEYA

(Planning Unit)

 

 

 

 

01.01.99

 

 

EU (EDF) Grant for  secondary schools is already agreed.

 

 

Review and redesign curriculum, which should be relevant to people’s lives and the needs of the economy

 

 

 

 

MEYA

 

 

 

01.01.99

 

 

B. The Education Master Plan 

The World Bank Mission which visited Vanuatu 6-31 July 1998 presented its initial findings and recommendations in an aide-memoire. Based on the CRP envisaging a redirection of resources to the "delivery of social services- especially education- which is the key to personal, social, political and economic development", its aim is to provide a more literate and better skilled labour force and is "the single most important tool for building an equitable society".

 There were eight basic parameters for the development of the education system in Vanuatu

 1.   The wish to preserve a bilingual (Anglophone/Francophone) society and an education system using both languages.

 2.   The desire to provide basic education for all children by the year 2010 and increased access at other levels, secondary, vocational and technical and higher level as well as providing a second chance for those ni-Vanuatu who for whatever reason must interrupt their education.

3.   The need to have a more relevant curriculum.

 4.  The need to provide education of a higher quality than at present with improved teacher training, supervision, appropriate infrastructure, need textbooks and adequate assessment.

 5.  The need to have equity both geographical, gender, social, linguistic and physical.

 6.  The need to have collaboration and partnership among government, church, NGOs, women's groups, parents, communities and the private sector. 

7.   The need to have an improved management of the education system. 

8.   The need to have a more cost-effective and sustainable educational system.

 

Language Policy (1)

 Efforts should be made to improve the teaching of French in Anglophone schools and vice versa. Then later the school system might become bilingual. The teaching of vernacular language in pre-school, Class 1 and 2 would help enrolment, preserve the country's many vernacular languages and, if the experience in other countries is anything to go by, becoming literate in one's mother tongue leads to better, faster and deeper acquisition of a foreign language.

 

Basic Education (2)

 Basic education is to consist of an eight year cycle which would be a reasonable goal for Vanuatu at this point in its development (financially by 2010). Initially, Pre-school, Class 1 and Class 2 would be done in community built and maintained schools in virtually every village in the vernacular language, with French or English being introduced in Class 2. This would save smaller children having to walk an hour or two to the nearest primary school. They would be taught by a local teacher in the village, known to everyone, who would probably be a Class 10 graduate who would undergo basic training. Then the local primary school would be able to cater

 for children in Class 3 to Class 8 without the need to undergo the present Class 6 selection examination and without the expense for parents of having to send children away to boarding schools. After basic education it is proposed to provide more and better quality vocational training by expanding and developing the system of Rural Training Centres which should be funded through VRDTCA rather than by Government.

 Secondary education would then be available from Class 9 to Class 12, provided upgrading of teachers and facilities took place. Then every province would have at least one school offering such education. This again would cut down the cost to parents of having to pay for children to travel long distances. The second international language would be introduced at Class 9.

 A comprehensive technology education programme would be introduced in these schools in place of the industrial arts and home economics. Higher technical education would be provided by the INTV which now would become a centre of excellence in this field.

 Centres of excellence would be strengthened so that at least two of Malapoa, Matevulu and Lycée institutions would continue to Class 13 (the bursary programme).

 Higher education with the introduction of the second foreign language is envisaged so that young people would be able to gain acceptance at institutions and pursue university courses more successfully. Anglophone students would be able to go to French-style institutions and vice versa.

 Following the success of the Junior Secondary Education Plan of Papua New Guinea Distance Learning would give those who dropped out of education for whatever reason a second chance. Material, suitable for all candidates, could be sent through the post or broadcast on radio, television, Internet ore-mail, whichever was most cost-effective.

 

Relevance of the Curriculum (3)

 Because of the large number of valuable resources available in Vanuatu, the teaching of the vernacular would be far more relevant than previously. The Priskul Asosiesen blong Vanuatu has already started in this way and provided materials could be developed by the Curriculum Development Unit the use of the local teacher, parent chief and village elder would encourage enrolment and children to learn because they would not be frightened of not understanding what was being said. The present recently published textbooks go a long way to making the material taught being more relevant to the primary school children of today. Some changes for Class 7 and 8 would be required, more French and more English, more mathematics, more general science (where laboratory facilities are not required). For classes 9 to 12 you would need to introduce the second European language and a comprehensive technology course.

Education and the Labour market. Of the 3500 young people who leave school each year, only some 500 are able to secure employment. The remaining 3,000 either have to return to their villages and to work with their families in agriculture or else drift into the urban areas in search of work. Those at present who leave after Class 6 are particularly disadvantaged. So by staying on at school until Class 8 and thereby by leaving with a better and higher standard of education, pupils will find it easier to obtain employment. Thus education will go a long way to improve the quality of the labour market.

 

The Quality of Education (4)

 This can only be improved by the provision of more and better qualified teachers. The Vanuatu Teachers' Training College should be dramatically upgraded and the Government should provide more funding for the recurrent expenditures in books, materials and staff. French aid provides for Francophone teaching staff but there are no counterparts. The Government of Vanuatu and Australia have agreed a project to train Anglophone junior and secondary teachers.

 In-service Teacher education with the upgrading of teachers of Class 7 and 8, required to implement the Education Master Plan, will be undertaken by the USP in Vila with help from the University of PNG at Goroka.

 Teacher support for all teachers needs to be well supervised in a cost effective way, not only at the Primary but also at the Secondary level.

 Teachers' conditions of service, particularly the salary scale and incentives and housing, must also urgently be undertaken. This should be accompanied by a proper system of teacher inspection, assessment and appraisal. 

The training of Principals and Headmasters should also be undertaken at the Vanuatu Teachers' College as a matter of urgency (with donor support). 

The National Curriculum Commission should be reactivated to ensure that all curriculum materials are provided for the new Master Plan, particularly ensuring its relevance to the continuing needs of Vanuatu. 

The Pacific Islands Literacy Levels-Tests 1 and 2- should continue at the end of Class 4 and 6. Common examination papers in Mathematics and General Knowledge should be offered in Class 6 (similar to those offered at present in Class 10). Eventually the Class 6 selection examination would be abolished and replaced in Class 8. 

School infrastructure- the provision of toilets and water facilities, the amalgamation of primary schools and development of schools to cater for Classes 3 to 8, the upgrading of facilities in Junior Secondary schools to form the new Provincial secondary schools- will also have to be a major priority. The problem and responsibility for school maintenance has already been addressed by the joint FSP and EU Rehabilitation Programme.

 

Equity (5)

Urban and rural equity will be achieved by the rationalisation of the provision of education in rural areas as well as the introduction of the vernacular language of education in the villages. 

Gender equity will be achieved if access to schools is expanded in general, thus encouraging a larger proportion of girls to attend school. This will be helped by improving the environment of the schools to make it more attractive and by making people (parents in particular) aware that better educated girls are more likely to raise healthy, well nourished children in the right numbers (because of their, now greater, understanding for the need for family planning). 

Linguistic equity at present is far from equitable. This is, in part, due to the concerns of the Francophones that:

 translation of educational materials from English to French is poor -- few understand the pedagogical methods and content of French medium schools -- there is an unwillingness of Anglophones to learn French.  

The Anglophones are also concerned that
there is an unequal access to junior/senior secondary and technical education (35% in anglophone schools and 50% in francophone ones)
there is limited participation of Francophones in developing educational materials the cultural content of textbooks supplied for the teaching of French is inappropriate
education for the handicapped is only likely to be possible through partnership with the NGOs.


Partnerships (6) 

partnerships are envisaged with communities for the maintenance and building of primary schools

NGOs- Kaljeral Senta, Summer Institute of Linguistics, World Vision, Vanuatu Community Development Fund, Priskul Asosiesen blong Vanuatu and Wan Smalbag - should be actively encouraged

Churches but that agreement between each church and the government as far as education is concerned should be a common one

Private Sector-the establishment of the National Training Council would go a long way to ensure that the education being provided in schools is relevant to the needs of the employers in Vanuatu in terms of skills, standards and levels of certification

External donors should provide all development budget funding leaving the Government of Vanuatu to use public finances for the recurrent budget. This will be vital for the country's development for some years to come

Management of the Master Plan (7) 
Appropriate legislation will have to be passed to ensure the implementation of the national educational policy is in the hands of permanent staff, not subject to changes as may be brought about by changes in Government.
Decentralisation, giving greater administrative and financial control to Provincial Education Officers will eventually help to bring the aims of the Educational Master Plan into fruition.
The Ministry of Education also needs to be restructured with a Policy, Planning and Research Directorate established which will eventually lead to an Administrative Services Director responsible for driving the future development of education in the country.
Collecting information from all schools should also be a high priority
A Project Management Unit should be established responsible for the total procurement process.
The Ministry of Education staff should be trained so that at all times it can provide enhanced support to the role of technical and vocational education as part of the education system.
Sustainability (8)
The Government budget forecasts higher economic growth and assuming it grows at 3% per annum and the government expenditure rises to 24% of GDP (of which education should account for 26%) the education budget for 2010 in real terms will be Vt 3.0 billion(at 1998 prices) which is 1.8 times the budget in 1998. This would be enough for ensuring all pupils can receive education up to Class 8.

As far as unit costs are concerned there is in Vanuatu a relatively high cost of education Vt 25,000 for primary school children per annum (f 125)
Vt 86,000 for junior secondary school children p.a. (£ 430)
Vt 110,000 for senior secondary school children p.a. (£ 550)
This is mainly due to: (a) a relatively low pupil-teacher ratio because of the proliferation of small anglophone, francophone and church primary schools
(b) relatively high teachers' salaries
(c) boarding costs which are largely met by parents.

The next steps are to ensure that the National Education Commission
Sets up a working group to report on the day to day matters based on the papers prepared Establishes sectoral sub-committees to study specific aspects
Establishes a drafting group to compile a final document
Calls together a donor co-ordination committee, chaired by the Minister of Education, to inform donors regularly of the progress being made and the required support and help needed. Not only should fully inform government about the Master Plan but should build up a consensus among all sectors- the local community, parents, headmasters and principals, teachers, students, public authorities, the international community and the media so that all are fully aware and involved in its execution.

C. Rationalisation Of Schools

Observations of Tafea and Penama Provinces by Tony Williams

There is little doubt that any reforms recommended by the World Bank Team in preparing the Education Master Plan are likely to be expensive and most, if not all, the money will have to be sought from outside donors. This will be particularly true of any capital expenditure, expenditure on teacher training and curriculum development.

One of the members of the team, Mr. Peter Hough, indicated that the cost of education in Vanuatu is extremely high. So steps need to be taken to ensure that the recurring costs which are to be born by the Government of Vanuatu are kept to reasonable limits.

Part of this reduction of costs will be brought about by the introduction of the principle of Provincial Junior and Senior High Schools so that parents do not face the high costs of air travel from their home islands to schools in other parts of the group. For example I came across several students from Tanna at schools in Santo or students from Ambae in Tanna. Apart from the centres of excellence at Malapoa, the Lyc0e and Matevulu which would only take pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13, aimed at the really high fliers, all pupils should go to the schools in their own province. This would mean that they would then be able to go home not only in the two week holiday in April and August but also perhaps even in the mid-term breaks. This would help keep the family ties much closer.

But equally if there could be some rationalisation of schools considerable savings could be made, not least because there would not need to be a duplication of facilities. For example on Tanna I saw at Isangel Junior Secondary School, a recently refurbished school funded by the European Union, with boarding facilities, a science laboratory unused because of a lack of teachers and equipment and on site a primary school. Both were francophone schools and each had its own head/principal. A mile down the road at Lenakel was a new Junior Secondary School with two classes sending its pupils on a 20 mile truck drive to Tafea for science teaching and an urgent desire for funding for a new kitchen and dining hall. It too had a primary school on site. Both of these were anglophone schools each with its own head/principal. In my opinion it would make enormous sense if there was a bi-lingual Provincial Junior Secondary school at Isangel where both anglophone and francophone students could be taught using recently published text books by the Curriculum Development Unit, under the PASEP project. This would be a day/boarding school headed by one Principal which would have kitchens, dormitories and dining hall for all the students. Lenakel would be designated a bi-lingual Primary School which would not require dormitories or expensive kitchens. It would again have only one Head and its pupils would come from the local, fairly large catchment area with many potential students at that age. The Provincial Senior High School would be sited at Tafea, already a bi-lingual school.

Equally, when I was on Ambae I saw a new Junior Secondary School at Ambaebulu which had been sited with a bi-lingual Primary School. The latter had to give up its dining room for a classroom for the Junior Secondary School which in turn was using a dormitory as another classroom while the boy pupils were being accommodated in a former teacher's house. Both schools had their own headmistress/principal. Yet 5 miles down the road is St. Patrick's College, ............................ ??? ...........................................
Vureas which can accommodate 330 pupils, all boarders, at present and has plans to expand. Again, would it not make sense for all the secondary pupils at Ambaebulu to transfer to Vureas and leave Ambaebulu as a bi-lingual Primary School? Vureas would become the Provincial High School (under the EMP) taking pupils from Years 9 to 12.

On north Pentecost Nazareth could become a 3 or 4 stream Provincial Junior High School catering for Years 9 and 10 with transfer to Vureas for Years 11 and 12. But the advantage that Nazareth has is its close co-operation with the local village. If teachers were able to apply for positions in schools many might come who actually might live in the village, thus freeing up some teachers' houses. There is also a Primary School on site catering for the numerous children who live in that area; so when they transfer to their Provincial Junior Secondary School they may not need the full boarding facilities. There may well be other communities who might be able to playa bigger role in the running of and support for their local school.

These are simply two or three examples of how the need to duplicate resources can be removed with careful planning. There are bound to be problems- some because of different religious backgrounds, some because of differences in language. However, the country of Vanuatu is a small one with small resources. Some kinds of compromise are essential for the sake of the country. Dialogue between all interested parties is required so the best solution for the children and the country can be arrived at. It is not going to be easy but all efforts should be made to ensure that the Education Master Plan can deliver sustainable education not just to all primary school children but also a much larger proportion of secondary school children.

 

D. Vanuatu Rural Development Training Centre Association

This was started in 1993 by FSP (which was then UKFSP and funded by ODA). In 1996 it became independent from FSP and is presently funded (1996-99) by DFID to the tune of 82m.vatu (or £ 135,OOO per annum).

A Rural Training Centre is a place where young people who have not passed year 10 or year 12 exams have an opportunity to learn and train. There are 22 of them at present, all close to or within a community on available land where there is no dispute. The youngsters (aged between 13 and 23) can do

(1) a one or two year full time course with foundation subjects (health, environment, communication and legal rights of the people) and one or two vocational subjects (carpentry and joinery, home economics, agriculture, small business and mechanics).

(2) It is a place where a variety of people can learn a number of things in a series of short courses;

(3) It could be a combination of both of those;

(4) and it is a place that is available for community groups to use as needed (eg youth, women groups).

Each is run by a management committee composed of interested and active local people (chiefs, church, women, youth) which meets once a month, regularly. The day-to-day organisation is in the hands of a manager and trainers who together form the management team. In 1996 there were 297(M) and 92(F) enrolled which had increased in 1997 to 499(M) and 176(F). This shows the need for a Gender Policy since there is a cultural barrier against females doing anything else apart from producing children.

At present the money goes on Administration and staff salaries and providing technical advice and workshops for the training of staff. Some of this is on site training and some is workshops for all RTC members. Where interest is shown in setting up a RTC management training, curriculum training and ideas about fund raising are introduced. In collaboration with the Department of Cooperatives, the International Labour Office (in Fiji) and the Credit Union (where students are encouraged to save regularly in order to buy the tools needed to set up their own business) training is provided with the VRTCA working closely with those parties. Throughout the main aim is to encourage people to remain in their islands, rather than try their luck in Vila and Santo.

In Epule (North Efate) there are 42 students enrolled all of whom learn about motor mechanics, woodwork (chairs, tables, beach chairs, beds, meat safes, work benches), sewing (shirts and dresses), weaving (mats, baskets, hats, fans, bracelets, napkin rings- which is done only by the girls) and carving (done only by the boys). Both are taught sex education together. The whole programme is designed for the students to go back to their villages so that they become useful members of their own community.
The Income Generating Activity has been structured to help each centre towards financial independence.
They are encouraged to earn money (through the sale of their products) to run the programme; to teach business skills to the trainees as well as provide them with practical skills in business; to identify potential graduate employment and above all to improve community development.
The recommendations arising from the findings of the mid-term review of the Strengthening Programme are:

(a)  to increase the number and length of tour visits by     members of the  Association to the RTCs in the islands

(b)  to establish RTCs in every province

(c) to ensure that all activities are sustainable within the local community

(d) to provide relevant training or workshop opportunities for staff

(e) to provide management training and skills for headquarter staff

(f) to make the Association accountable (financially as well as operationally) to its members and DFID

(g) to develop and implement a curriculum monitoring strategy through the appointment of a specialist adviser

(h) To set specific targets and time-scales for the implementation of the Gender Policy

Finance is needed for the following:
(i) Provision of trainers in non-formal education to assist with management training, the training of trainers and exchange trainers, the development of the curriculum; to enable visits overseas to other Pacific Territories to make comparisons with best practices.

(ii) Provision of a building (rather like the Vanuatu National Council of Women) where the Headquarters could be sited and where training courses could be held. (At present, they have to hire premises for courses and pay rent for premises.) This would cost 40m. vatu (£200,000)

(iii) Provision of tools and equipment in carpentry, farming, mechanics, sewing machines etc which would be used for running courses and hiring out to RTCs as required. A TV screen and video would assist in the presentation of the various courses as would a scanner to transfer pictures/images from books onto computer screen.